Anyone who has ever been a teammate of senior football standout
Taylor Micali knows he’s fearless, scrappy, and a little bit
Gilroy – Anyone who has ever been a teammate of senior football standout Taylor Micali knows he’s fearless, scrappy, and a little bit insane. Among high school athletes, he is one-of-a-kind, a true original, both on and off the field. In fact, it’s impossible to fully explain Micali in just words; he’s the kind of guy you need to see in action to appreciate.
Growing up in Gilroy, Micali experienced football at a young age. His early pigskin experiences, however, were a little different then most high school football players. He never participated in Pop Warner or any organized football league before he reached high school. In his words, he experienced football on the “streets.”
“When I was younger I always played pick-up games with friends at parks or in fields. That’s why I think I have grown to be so crazy. No one really ever thought I could play real football because I was so rowdy, but I wanted to prove everyone wrong.”
When Micali entered Gilroy High in 2002 he played for the freshman squad. That year he was primarily a tight end, but played linebacker as well. “At that point I really liked catching passes so I played tight end. It was not until my sophomore year that I transformed into a middle linebacker.” According to Assistant Varsity Coach Craig Martin, Micali’s freshman campaign was the first time that any of the varsity coaches saw the skills Micali possessed.
“The coaches noticed his intensity right away. When you watched him you could tell he was a real football player. All of us hoped he would become a stand out for us in the next couple of years.” As it turned out, Micali made his mark on the varsity level sooner than anyone imagined.
After playing only one year of organized football as a freshman, Micali won a spot on the varsity roster in 2003 as a sophomore.
“That year I proved to myself that I could do anything I wanted. No one ever thought I would be successful, but I was anxious to prove that I could do it.”
According to Micali, he experienced significant growth his sophomore year. “I learned a lot about the coverage schemes and positioning I needed to do as a middle linebacker. That work as a sophomore really helped me my junior and senior years.”
As a junior, Micali emerged as one of the backbones of the Mustang’s defense. After having a year of experience under his belt, he and the Gilroy defense lead the Mustangs to their first playoff victory in 19 years. Number 45 recounted that win.
“By far that was one of my best football memories. The whole team played exceptionally well, especially the defense. It meant even more to me knowing how it was our first playoff victory in such a long time.”
Now that Micali’s senior season is over, he looks forward to the future. “Next year I am hoping to play at some Junior College. I can’t let football go but I at this point I am not sure where I will be next year.””Micali said.
Although he is ready to move on, Micali will miss many aspects of high school football. “I loved the rivalry games between Hollister, Live Oak, and Palma. I am especially going to miss playing Hollister in the Prune Bowl. Those games were the best and I am always going to remember them.”
During his three years on varsity, Micali built up his image as being the crazy linebacker of the Gilroy defense. Micali’s says he tries to model his game after Hall of Famer Dick Butkus and current Pro Bowlers’ Brian Urlacher and Zach Thomas.
“Playing like them has made me more successful. If I didn’t play with all that emotion and energy I wouldn’t be me,” Micali added.
As for the Mustang’s, next year it is certain that the loss of Micali with hurt them in a big way. Coach Martin reflected on Micali’s contributions and what his departure means. “Loosing Micali is like loosing the heart and soul of our defense. He played with heart and left everything he had out on the field. He was with us for three years calling the defensive plays and running that defense. He will definitely be missed.”
I was fortunate to play soccer and baseball with Taylor Micali. I can’t think of him without laughing out loud. He brought so much spirit, personality and humor to every team.
And the quote that fits him best is one of his own, “Hard workers, working hard, every single time.” Good work Taylor and farewell 45.